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GM To Buy 50% Equity Interest in VM Motori, Partner in the CLCC Diesel

General Motors (GM) has reached a joint venture agreement with Penske Corporation to purchase a 50% equity stake in VM Motori S.p.A, a designer and manufacturer of diesel engines based in Cento, Italy. VM Motori is one of GM’s development partners for a new closed loop control combustion (CLCC) diesel engine.

At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, GM announced that it is jointly developing with VM Motori a new 184 kW (247 hp), 550 Nm (406 lb-ft), 2.9-liter V-6 turbo diesel engine scheduled to launch in the Cadillac CTS in Europe in 2009. (Earlier post.) The V-6 is the first production application of the clean combustion process called closed loop combustion control.

The high-pressure, common-rail system for the engine provides up to 2,000 bar (29,000 psi) injection pressure. The injectors are quick-firing piezo-electrically actuated, and allow up to eight injections per engine cycle. The after-treatment system includes an oxidation catalyst and a particulate filter that are close coupled to the engine to achieve future emissions standards. An electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger generates boost pressure.

Key enablers of the CLCC system are high-speed, piezo-resistive cylinder pressure sensors that are integrated within the engine glow plugs. These specialized sensors acquire real-time data from the combustion process, enabling instantaneous fine-tuning of the fuel injection process.

GM worked with Ricardo on developing an advanced diesel engine control (ADEC) system designed to enable consistent achievement of very low emissions levels through closed loop control of the combustion process. The ADEC coordinator uses a range of sensors to measure combustion states and then establishes the optimal balance of fuel quantity and timing and air path control. (Earlier post.)

In the future, this clean combustion control technology will be introduced in other GM Powertrain diesel engines. A future version of such a CLCC system with cylinder pressure sensors will likely be an enabler of HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) combustion regimes.

Diesel engines have a very important role in GM’s global advanced propulsion strategy. We are leveraging expertise and resources within our company and through technology partners to ensure we develop the world’s best powertrains.

—Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Global Powertrain and Quality

VM Motori will build the new CLCC unit at its plant in Cento, Italy, and is responsible for the mechanical aspects of the engine’s design, development and testing.

Penske Corporation, based in Bloomfield, Mich., is a transportation services company that encompasses retail automotive sales and services, truck leasing, supply chain logistics management, transportation components manufacturing, and high-performance racing.

VM Motori, founded in 1947, specializes in engine design and production for a variety of uses, including light commercial vehicles.

GM currently offers 17 diesel engine variants in 45 vehicle lines around the world. GM sells more than one million diesel engines annually, with products that offer a range of choices from the 1.3-liter four-cylinder diesel engine sold in the Opel Agila and Corsa, up to the 6.6L V-8 Duramax diesel sold in full-size vans, heavy duty pickups and medium duty trucks in the US.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz recently confirmed that the company will be introducing V-6 and V-8 diesels into the North American market. (Earlier post.)



i want that 2.9l diesel in my colorado sooooo bad!
they offer a 3l diesel thai colorado, why not bring one over here? gm underestimates the demand for diesel from truck owners. i want to haul more with my truck, and i don't care if it doesn't do the 0-120 in under 15 seconds...


Does the planet really NEED more V6s? Way more complication than necs. Two heads(and lots of other stuff) are NOT better than one. More turbo 5&4cyls maybe?


There are too many situations where a 4 cylinder just won't cut it today as far as hauling goes, this is a big deal in certain parts of the US and likely other places. The numbers automakers have been getting out of turbo V6's (and 4's too) lately are pretty stunning and will result in fewer V8's being sold, and there's a fuel efficiency benefit that goes with that. Plus many of these are diesels can probably run bio-diesel if the owners are so inclined.

Once EV's evolve and people get to see an electric truck effortlessly pull a tree stump out of the ground with all of its torque, this will all be moot.

One would think that Detroit Diesel, Caterpilar and Cummings would have done all the diesel development required by GM (et al) long time ago.

What is happening to the US industries? They were supposed to do all the R&D for the rest of the world...?


Detroit Diesel, Cat, and Cummins are busy focusing on BIG diesels. Their smallest products are generally on the order of 6 liter six-cylinders, and since until recently they were under minimal pressure to control emissions. For now they are struggling to get their heavy-duty products in line for the upcoming regs. The expertise in light-duty diesels is naturally in Europe, where they have been doing such engines for years because there was market demand for them. There hasn't been a market in the US for small diesels, so US automakers didn't sink R&D money there. Now there's some catching up to do.

Besides, developing new engines is extremely capital intensive, and as long as the product works well, the customer doesn't know or care if the engine in their GM vehicle is similar to one in a Fiat or Peugeot. It's not a product like the styling or interior where the products are so highly differentiated. Recently there have been lots of international joint ventures formed to help spread these capital costs across manufacturers. This makes it practical to spend big bucks on cutting edge engineering- with several manufacturers using the design, the up-front cost is spread across large sales volume later.


You can have a V-6 with an inblock cam with no arrangement of multiple heads as the number of valves and actuators would be the same as in an inline 6. A 4 cylinder of equal size and power would require more room in its longest dimension even though the V-6 takes up more volume. Turbocharging is more simple on a 4-cylinder, but high power is more easily achieved with more cylinders.


You've made some very good points, Wes.


I amm doing a project.. I was hoping that some of you will be so kind to feel out my survey. thanks

Fill out my Wufoo form!
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tried your survey but could not answer your ?s. There is a 03 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT in the fleet and its OK. But I also have a 03 Saab 93 turbodiesel 5spd. There is NO comparison.

And V6s are still even more unnecs.

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